Protect what you share

Thursday, March 29th, 2018

Last month it was revealed that a Trump data company, Cambridge Analytica, used the data of Facebook users during the American election. Security company SANS Security provided the information below to clarify the situation and provide solutions if you are concerned about your data being shared online.

“The US Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether Facebook violated terms of a 2011 settlement when data of up to 50 million users were transferred to Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm.  This data was originally collected from a Facebook app called “thisisyourdigitallife”.  The app not only collected extensive data from people who downloaded it, but the app connected data on their friends also.  This incident is raising a lot of questions, to include what other data has been collected by other apps, and how was that data shared.  Below are steps you can take to protect your privacy.  Note that while these steps are specific to Facebook, you should consider following the same steps for any social networking sites you use online.  In addition, Facebook will be making privacy changes in the coming months, as such, some of the links or options listed below may change. 

  1. Delete: If you are truly concerned about Facebook and no longer trust it, the most dramatic step you can take is to Delete Your Facebook Account.  If you do, your information cannot be recovered, so we recommend you download all of your past Facebook activity first from your settings page.
  2. Deactivate: The second option is to Deactivate Your Facebook Account, which is in your General Account Settings. This freezes your online activity to include disabling your profile and remove your name and photo from most things you’ve shared on Facebook.  However, you will still be able to message people.  Unlike Deletion, with Deactivation, you can Re-activate your account, which means your profile and past activity is restored.
  3. Minimize Apps: The issue is not only what data Facebook collects about your activity, but what data any third party apps that connect to your Facebook account, apps such as Clash of Clans or What is Your Inner Age.  Only install apps you need and minimize what they collect.  Why do you think there has been such an explosion of these fun and free apps?  Because they make money harvesting your information. In addition, limit what others share about you with their apps in the “Apps Others Use” section. Finally, delete an app when you no longer need it or no longer trust it.  Not sure what apps you have?  Check out your apps page and review your apps. Every app you have is just one more opportunity for others to collect information about you.  
  4. Logins: Many websites (and apps) give you the option of using your Facebook account to login.  While that is convenient, it just means more data sharing is happening between that website and your Facebook account.  Protect your privacy by using a unique login for each and every account you have.  Can’t remember all of your passwords?  Neither can we, that is why we recommend a Password Manager.
  5. Sharing: Always be careful what you share with others.  If you do not want your parents or boss to read it, you probably should not post it.  Yes, you can use privacy options to control who can read your posts, but remember those can be confusing and change often, so what you thought was privately shared can become publicly available.
  6. Two-factor Authentication: Finally, while not related to privacy, one of the best steps you can take to securing any of your online accounts is to enable two-factor authentication.  This requires a second step to logging into the site.  This very simple step is one of THE most effective ways you can secure your online accounts.

Unfortunately, these steps are not as simple as we would like.  Facebook and other sites do this on purpose, they make money by collecting your information.  We want you to be aware that information is being collected about you and the steps you can take to protect yourself.  Finally, while these steps are specific to Facebook, keep in mind many other free sites have the same issues.”

[Source: SANS Security Awareness]

All Office365 applications now available

Monday, June 5th, 2017

Information Technology enabled the complete cloud-based Office365 package for all staff with an active role earlier this month.

The complete Office 365 package includes:
– Outlook mail
– OneDrive for Business (5TB for each staff member and student)
– SharePoint Online (public and team sites)
– Access to online MS Office apps (for example Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.)
– Five downloadable versions of Office 2016 for personal devices (for example laptops, tablets and smartphones) Take note that these Office 2016 versions are not allowed on any asset number devices, it’s only allowed on personal devices.

What is Office 365?

If you have any questions, please let us know by logging a request on ServiceNow or calling our Service Desk at 808 4367. For more information on the Office365 package, please consult our FAQs or have a look at the Office365 training videos.

IMPORTANT: When using cloud-based services, you have to keep your private and work usernames, passwords and data separate. Never use the same username for private and work email accounts, storage spaces and applications.

What is Microsoft Office 365?

Monday, June 5th, 2017

What is the cloud?

Cloud services is a broad description for IT services provided over the internet. Your services aren’t hosted on your system at work or home, but it’s located and managed remotely. Many services today use the Cloud, for example some e-mail services (e.g. Gmail), data storage (e.g. Dropbox) or photo storage (e.g. Flickr) Because it is is located online or ‘in the cloud’, you can access it from virtually anywhere on any device as long as you have an Internet connection. More articles on the cloud.

What is Microsoft Office 365?

Office 365 is an online, cloud-based application of the Microsoft Office products, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access (Publisher and Access are available on PC only) available to staff and students with an active role. 

What do I get?

  • Five downloadable versions of Office365 for personal devices, for example, laptops, tablets and smartphones. This does NOT include asset number devices. 
    IMPORTANT: For the versions to stay active you must be an active staff member or student of the university. Licenses of the downloadable versions have to be refreshed on a monthly basis, otherwise it will stop working.
  • Mail: 50 GB mailbox in the cloud
  • Access to Microsoft Office365 online apps from any computer connected to the internet.
  • Calendar: online calendar
  • Word: online to access from any computer
  • Excel:  online to access from any computer
  • PowerPoint: online to access from any computer
  • People: online contacts
  • Planner: organise tasks and teamwork
  • OneDrive: 5TB online storage
  • Teams: collaboration
  • OneNote: digital notebook
  • Class Notebook: OneNote for classrooms
  • Sway: Create and share interactive reports, presentations, personal stories, and more.
  • Forms: build survey forms and easily share them with students, parents, and colleagues.
  • Tasks: schedule tasks
  • Video: scalable, easy-to-use portal for uploading and sharing your corporate videos.
  • SharePoint: online storage and sharing of files
  • Yammer: collaboration tool that helps you and your teams stay on top of it all. Start conversations, work together on files, and organise around projects.

What is the difference between the cloud and your PC?

After moving to the cloud you will have both data locally on your PC, on the network (G and H: drives), but you will also have data on the cloud. The same goes for your applications. You will be able to have some applications locally on your PC, while others will be cloud-based. Data on the cloud will be the primary source, while the copies on your PC and network drives are synced versions.

The same applies to your Office365 applications. For this reason, it’s important that you keep track of where you save your data. 

IMPORTANT: SU copyright agreements do not extend to storing and sharing of documents protected under the copyright law on OneDrive for business, SharePoint online or any other public store spaces.

What are the advantages of cloud services? 

  • More storage space available, up to 5TB on OneDrive and 50GB on Outlook.
  • Your data is available from anywhere, anytime, on any device. You’ll always have access to your data if you have an internet connection.
  • Your information is also safely stored, even if you lose one of your devices.  

What are the disadvantages of cloud services?  

  • Familiarise yourself with copyright regulations. Make sure you know what you are allowed to store and share online.  SU copyright agreements do not extend to storing of documents protected under the copyright law on OneDrive for business or any other public store space.
  • You are entirely responsible for your own information. Be careful who you give rights and access to, as it will compromise your information if it’s visible to other people.
  • You are responsible for synchronisation between online and local data. Synchronisation between online and local information needs to be set up correctly and done on a regular basis.
  • Keep in mind that access to cloud services when on campus will not incur any costs, but if you work from home your own data will be utilised.
  • It is very important that you keep your private usernames, passwords and information separate from your official work, to prevent your data from getting mixed up.
  • Having access to the cloud from any computer makes your digital identification vulnerable, do not use computers you do not trust to access your cloud services.

What if I have been using OneDrive personal, Dropbox and other cloud storage options? 

You can keep on using them, but it is very important that you only use these storage options for your personal data.

OneDrive for business and SharePoint online is available under of the US MS Licence agreement for storage and sharing of institutional data. The storage and sharing of institutional data are not allowed on Dropbox, OneDrive personal or any other cloud storage. IMPORTANT: SU copyright agreements do not extend to storing and sharing of documents protected under the copyright law on OneDrive for business, SharePoint online or any other public store spaces.

What is the difference between the storage options?  
















You (private)

You (business)

Teamsite owner, moderator (business)

You (private)

You (private)



Personal files
(photos of your pet, last holiday, etc.)

Work files
(e.g. Word or Excel docs, PDF’s, etc.)

Your teams’ collabrative files, big data files, etc.

Personal files
photos of your pet, last holiday etc.)

Personal files (photos of your pet, last holiday etc.)



5GB (more if you created an account before Feb’16)


Limited by your imagination or work needs.

First 5GB free, then pay as you need.

First 15GB free, then pay as you need.



Yes, similar to Google Drive or DropBox.

Yes. You manage the share (security) of file/folder. Simple versioning.

Yes, team collab space; managed by moderators. Most granular and secure.

Yes, very simple.

Yes, very simple.


Do I still have to back up my data if it’s stored in the cloud?

Yes, it’s always beneficial to have more than one backup of your data, preferably in different locations.



New SUNLearn mobile app available for download

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Information Technology has developed a new SUNLearn mobile app which is now available for download. The app can be downloaded for Android, as well as iOS devices. It can also be downloaded by scanning the QR code to the right.  

SUNLearn is Stellenbosch University’s blended-learning platform. It is an open source, powerful, flexible and mobile-ready blended learning platform for learning and teaching. The system is easy to learn and use for both staff and students and an extensive user guide is also available. 

The SUNLearn mobile app can be used to:

– browse the content of your courses, even when offline,
– receive instant notifications of messages and other events,
– quickly find and contact other people in your courses,
– upload images, audio, videos and other files from your mobile device,
– view your course grades, etc.

Full features can be seen here.

Students who are new to the system can go to the Student training link where they will find various resources, videos and self-help guides. Keep in mind that when you use the SUNLearn mobile app on campus via Maties WiFi or the network, you will not be charged for any data and you will not need Inetkey for access.

The SUNLearn support team can be reached at or 021-808 2222.

Calling all reluctant designers

Monday, April 24th, 2017

Whether you are a professional, aspiring or reluctant designer, occasionally you have to rustle up a poster, flyer, ad or some form of graphic representation.

Canva an Australian company, was founded in 2012 to easily create graphic designs for whatever purpose.

The web site rapidly became popular, with more than 750,000 users in its first year. It currently has over 10 million users across 179 countries. It’s also considered to be one of the easiest graphic design platforms available at the moment. 

Canva is considered to be one of the easiest (according to some THE easiest) graphic design platforms currently available. One of the biggest challenges with graphic design is learning to use software like Adobe Photoshop, a fairly complicated programme. Canva eliminates this learning process and doesn’t expect you to be an expert designer to use it. How is this possible?

One way with which Canva simplifies the design process is by using an easy, intuitive drag and drop system which makes adding, removing, and editing elements extremely easy. You can choose between 11 available templates or customise your document from scratch. It also provides over 8,000 free and paid layouts.

Additionally, it offers a free photo editing tool, colour palette generator, and font combination tool, along with a database of over a million photographs, graphics and fonts. Many of the images are for the Premium package, which will cost you $1 per image, but you can easily upload and use your own images.

All these tools can be used for both web and print media design and graphics. Canva is free for individuals, but also offers a ‘Team’ tier at $12.45/month,



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